Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Fresh & Fruity

Photos by Aimee Broussard

Summer has certainly made its appearance known. The sun is blazing and the last thing on my mind is cranking up the heat in the kitchen unnecessarily. Therefore, this month we are keeping things cool with these fresh takes on some seasonal favorites. 

A go-to seafood salad is a great recipe to have in your repertoire. To me, it’s the gift that keeps on giving in the summertime. It’s quick to pull together and won’t leave you feeling like you need a nap afterward. This particular salad is a combination of a Southwestern salad, with its addition of roasted corn and black beans, pairing up with shrimp with a flavor reminiscent of a taco, making it something like a Southwestern Shrimp Taco Salad. You call this fiesta in your mouth whatever you want, though. 

Seasonally abundant tomatoes call for an Easy Homemade Salsa recipe. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have a homemade salsa bursting with fresh flavor, leaving you to wonder why you’ve been buying canned salsa all these years. In terms of spice, my salsa leans toward the spicy-mild direction, so feel free to amp yours up with added jalapeño if you want to bring more heat. 

And as we bid adieu to strawberry season, my Strawberry Milkshake Snacking Cake is perfect for summertime treating and a dessert the kiddos love. Just as its name suggests, each bite mimics a strawberry milkshake. Unlike a milkshake, however, you won’t need to worry about it melting. 


Easy Homemade Salsa

Ingredients:
½ cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
1 (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 lb. fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
Pinch sugar (optional, to balance the acidity of the tomatoes)
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. cumin
13 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice 
Add onion, garlic and jalapeño to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse several times. 
Drain off liquid from can of diced tomatoes. Discard liquid, and add canned tomatoes to food processor, along with remaining ingredients. Pulse until salsa reaches desired consistency (I like mine a bit chunky). Taste and adjust lime juice, salt and sugar as needed. 
Store refrigerated for up to 1 week. 
Makes 10-12 servings.

Southwestern Shrimp Taco Salad

Ingredients:
Seasoned Shrimp:
Zest and juice of 1 lime
½ tsp. chili lime seasoning
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Zesty Avocado Dressing:
½ avocado, diced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup sour cream
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. chili lime
½ tsp. cumin
½ Tbsp. garlic 
Salad:
4 to 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
½ cup roasted corn kernels
½ cup black beans, rinsed
1 avocado, diced
Crushed tortilla chips, optional 
In a large bowl, mix together all Seasoned Shrimp ingredients except shrimp. Add shrimp and toss well to evenly coat. Allow shrimp to marinate for at least 30 minutes. 
While shrimp are marinating, combine all Zesty Avocado Dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside. 
Over medium-high heat, sauté marinated shrimp until they are opaque. 
To assemble Salad, place a bed of romaine on bottom of bowl. Layer tomatoes, corn, black beans, avocado and Seasoned Shrimp. Add cheese if desired. Top with crushed tortilla chips, and drizzle Zesty Avocado Dressing over top. Serve immediately. 
Makes 2 generous salad portions.

Strawberry Milkshake Snack Cake

Ingredients:
Cake:
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup whole milk
½ cup strawberry milk powder (such as Nesquik)
Dark pink food coloring (optional)
Whipped Topping:
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Sliced fresh strawberries for garnish (optional) 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist an 8-inch square baking pan with baking spray and line with a parchment paper sling. 
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until each egg is incorporated. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter-sugar mixture a little at a time, and beat until just combined. 
In a measuring cup, stir to combine milk and strawberry powder. Slowly add to batter, mixing until just combined. If desired, add a few drops of dark pink gel food coloring. 
Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out mostly clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove cake from pan and discard parchment. 
To make Whipped Topping, in a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla together for about 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. 
Top cooled cake with Whipped Topping, cut cake into 9 squares, and garnish each square with a strawberry slice if desired. 
Makes 9 squares.

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning cookbook author. Seen on QVC, Rachael Ray and more, she is a self-proclaimed accidental entrepreneur with a penchant for porches and sweet hospitality. Find her online at aimeebroussard.com.